Current Conditions - Eastern Sierra area

sources of info - entirely my work - snitched from various sources and personal observation - ie. Inyo Co. Sheriff road conditions, Inyo NF, Sequoia NF, Mammoth Times, Lone Pine Chamber, Sierra Wave, etc. etc.

it is YOUR responsibility to check on road conditions if something on this list looks suspects - I donŐt update it every day- this is a moving target!!

Rockfall, thunderstorms, melting snow, etc. cause changesÉ. this is the best I have as of the dates belowÉ. jwest0554@gmail.com

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updated 8/10/17

Kern Plateau roads, OHV trails, etc. non-fire areas now open.

open - Sherman Pass road over the top, Blackrock Road to the trailhead for Golden Trout Wilderness trails,  Monache JEEP road, Troy and Fish Creek campgrounds, OHV trails except Rattlesnake.. 

There are still some people working the fire area - it isnŐt all out yet - still burning stumps, etc.  ItŐs making a little smoke, but not bad.  Watch for green fire trucks, etc.!!

Woodcutting!!  Sequoia Naitonal Forest is allowing FREE 10 cord firewood permits!! Gotta get the permit at a Ranger Station and have your chain saw checked, but the wood is free!! - itŐll help clean up the forest floor.  Have at it!!

Kennedy Meadows area is open for business – General Store and Grumpy's open, residents and visitors welcome!!  Chuckwagon hamburgers, etc. at the Store from 11-4.  Store hours roughly 9-5 daily, a bit longer on weekends.

Kennedy Meadows Campground is open, but there are no OHV trails from there. Good hiking. PCT Hikers welcome.   But most OHV trails are closed - might as well leave the bikes at home and try fishing or hiking or enjoy the meadows. 

Be sure you have a campfire permit for a fire or your stove and lantern - and a Wilderness Permit if youŐre hiking into the Golden Trout Wilderness - Casa Vieja, Jordan HS, etc.

Campgrounds - Ňimproved = toilets, fees, tables, water in seasonÓ Troy Meadows, Fish Creek, Kennedy Meadows.

Primitive= no toilets, no fees;  Fish Creek overflow, Beach Meadow, Osa Meadow, Paloma Meadow, Monache Meadow, Powell Meadow, Granite Knob Meadow, Blackrock trailhead.   (Troy overflow still not open)

Roads: - paved roads all open.

dirt roads - in pretty good shape around the fire area!!  Beach road is OK!

Monache Meadow is truly a JEEP road - ie. clearance, 4x4. YouŐll need it! It is not currently suitable for SubaruŐs, for example. Real Jeep types!! The Kern River Crossing is deep, soft, flowing fast, and not for the timid. Washouts on a lot of the roads in the Monache area. Roads to Bonita and Beach Meadows in good shape shape.

Flowers: -. ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!  The meadows are just gorgeous!

BUGS - YUP!!  Mosquitoes, lots of um!!  Green tree frogs hopping everywhere in Granite Knob.

Snow - mostly gone, just a little under the trees up higher.

Sherman Pass is 90 miles from Ridgecrest no matter which way you go down the hill - and itŐs the same elevation drop whether you go to Kernville or Ridgecrest - so itŐs a GREAT loop!!

 

Whitney, Horseshoe Meadows, Onion Valley areas

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/inyo/recreation

Inyo site has some great trail maps/guides on this website.  Check them out!!

All open and mostly snow-free below 11,000,  but still snow patches above 11,000.

Campgrounds open, need reservations for Whitney area.

Need Wilderness Permits for hikes in Whitney Area - get at Lone Pine Visitor Center

Need Wilderness permits for overnight hikes out of Horseshoe or Onion Valley.  Kearsarge pass has a lot of PCT hiker traffic at present. 

 

Bishop Creek Area, Rock Creek, McGee Creek

ALL campgrounds open!!  See https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/inyo/recreation

All paved roads open now.  North Lake road open.  Road to Mosquito Flat open.

Lakes ice-free to 11,000 ft, but snow and ice above that!  BUGS!!!  Flowers!


CURRENT ROAD CLOSURES:  check - there were bridge issues in Round Valley, but the creeks are back in their banks so most flooded areas now open.

Mammoth Lakes Basin

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5403315

Roads and campgrounds finally OPEN!!  Bike trail good to Horseshoe Lake.  Horseshoe is FULL of water for first time in years!!!  Trails- still snow above 11,000Ő

Coldwater Creek CG Open   Mammoth Mine area closed due to arsenic issues

Gondola operating (winds permitting) for scenic rides to top of mountain

**Reds Meadow Road OPEN!!  Visitors must use Shuttle bus to get down into the valley.  I think bicycles still allowed?  Reds meadow pack station and cafŽ open.  Rainbow Falls awesome!!!!  Minaret falls huge.  DevilŐs Postpile OPEN, but not the campground.   Buggy!!

Agnew Meadow CG not open either.  If hiking to lakes, park at Minaret Summit or take shuttle down.

Tioga Road

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/inyo/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5403325&width=full

OPEN!!   Facilities and campgrounds limited. 

Tuolumne Meadows Store and Post Office open till Sept. 24.  Store - 8-8, PO 9-5

Tuolumne Campground opened Aug. 1. Others west on Tioga road will open when they dry out - check.  Some not planning to open.

NONE of the High Sierra Camps will open this summer!!  L   (except Tuolumne Mdws)

Best to call the park.  Their web pages not updated at all for this wild winter!!

Saddlebag Lake   Fishing possible.  TheyŐll open when they can.  Campground open

Tioga Pass Resort - CLOSED - severe snow damage to the main building and some of the cabins.  Will require $$ and major work.  No pie  L

 

Public Transportation in and around Yosemite NP

See http://yarts.com/routes-schedules/

YARTs is running from lots of towns on the west side of Yosemite NP to Lee Vining and Mammoth Lakes on the east side of Tioga Pass. 

Within Yosemite National Park - FREE shuttles

2 major loops around the Valley, and a loop in Tuolumne from Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Lodge (not running yet - but it will)

 

 

 

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/inyo/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5403323&width=full

Road open to the Schulman Grove and dirt road to the Patriarch Grove.  Still snow in grove.  Visitor Center open 10-5 daily.  **watch the sky - if clouds with gray bottoms, do NOT go hiking and do NOT go up to the Patriarch Grove.  This is prime territory for hail storms and lightning!!  This seems to be a particularly wet/monsoon summer!

 

Death Valley National Park

Things were going just fine, if a bit HOT, but then thunderstorms hit!

Remember that thunderstorms are localized - but there were 3 days of um!

***LOWER WILDROSE OPEN!!!!   Finally!  Access to Telescope Pk trail.  


Death Valley Road Conditions

2 hrs á 

Park staff is working hard to repair damage and assess road conditions from our recent monsoons. 

Road Updates for Thursday, August 10th at 9:00 am:

Big Pine/Death Valley Road is CLOSED due to flood damage. 
Devil's Golf Course Road is OPEN. 

ROAD ADVISORIES:
Mesquite Campground: Closed due to flood debris

PAVED ROADS:
CA-190: Open
Badwater Road: Open
Emigrant/Wildrose: Open
Scotty's Castle Road/North Highway: Closed from 190
Scotty's Castle Road: Closed to the Castle (Bonnie Claire) and NV-95
Ubehebe Crater Road: Closed

UNPAVED ROADS:
Big Pine/Death Valley road: Closed
West Side Road: Closed
Harry Wade Road: Closed
Natural Bridge Road: Closed
Mosaic Canyon Road: Closed
Titus Canyon Road: Closed

Updated road conditions can be found on our website: 
https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

Be careful when in the backcountry in this heat!!  You will be alone - plan on it.

***Really watch the sky!  Remember that water runs downhill - so if itŐs raining uphill from YOU - watch out - water will soon be there!!!!!

Trails, John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, passes, etc.

Also a moving targetÉ check with Lone Pine Visitor Center for Whitney area, Bishop/Inyo Natl Forest office and Inyo NF website for Bishop area, Mammoth Ranger Station, Mono Lake Visitor Center - both MLC and USFS offices for conditions.  They change daily!!

Trails are NOT closed - BUT - thereŐs still a lot of snow above 11.000, and rivers are still very high.  Suncups are an issue now - a real pain!!  All high passes have snow on both sides, though south-facing sides slowly showing remnants of the trails.  Ice axe, crampons, and skills to use them a must still, and probably into Sept. 

Trails above June Lake Power Plant - ie to Gem Lake,  Agnew Lake, etc. are OPEN!!  The waterfall is just awesome!!

Amazing website, but not updated for 2017.  Lots of cool history, tips, etc.

            https://tahoetowhitney.com/Resupply/Tuolumne%20Meadows/Tuolumne_Meadows_Backpacker_Resupply.html

USE COMMON SENSE.  If it looks dangerous, it IS.  ThereŐs no shame in turning back and going to a safer place, or just going out and coming back later.  The mountains will be waiting for you, maybe with not so much water and snow - though they sure needed it!! 

From Yosemite NP Web page -

On July 1, 2017 about an hour before sunset, a wilderness law enforcement ranger on a routine backcountry patrol encountered three separate parties, seven hikers total, all completely lost while facing darkness. They were in the Sunrise Pass area south of Tioga Road, Tuolumne Meadows general area.

Although the Tioga Road opened just two days before, many high country trails remain snow covered, including trail signs. All three parties discovered how challenging route finding is on snow buried trails and lost their way going to Clouds Rest and back; this trail is misperceived as an easier route and some of the hikers had done this trail before. While lost, one party found another trail which they could not identify and it did not lead to where they needed to go which only worsened their situation.

Through route finding efforts and cross-country travel, the ranger successfully lead the hikers to their destination arriving at 11:00 p.m. By this time, one hiker was suffering from altitude sickness and another was asthmatic. None of the hikers were enjoying their experience.

Although the cross-country travel occurred after darkness, only two of the hikers had headlamps and the ranger had to loan out his spares.

It was fortuitous that a ranger in a vast backcountry happened across three lost parties. He was not looking for anyone specifically nor were there any reports of missing hikers as cell service is unusual in this area. Otherwise, searches would not have started at least until the following day and this would have required numerous resources, at least one miserable night outside, and an outcome that could not be guaranteed.

Lessons Learned:

– Traveling over snow covered trails requires route finding skills. This includes carrying a detailed topographical map, compass (GPS optional), and, of course, mastery of these items.

– Always, and we cannot stress this enough, have the ability to retreat or return to where you have come from by the same route. This requires you to remain aware of whatŐs behind you while hiking to your destination.

– Hike prepared with the 10 essentials. Few hikers intend to hike in the darkness but a headlamp, preferably two, and spare batteries, can be a game changer.

– Hikers sometimes place rock cairns for their own reference. These are not official Park Service markers and they may or may not be accurate. Bottom line, follow someone elseŐs markers at your own risk.

– When in doubt, hike on well-defined trails until the high-country trails are snow free.

Please help circulate the word to anyone who is thinking of hiking in the Tioga and Tuolumne areas.

 

High Fire Danger everywhere!!  Please be cafeful!  If you see or smell smoke, check the internet to see where the fire is - donŐt go there!!